FIRESPAWN‘s debut (2015’s Shadow Realms) was received warmly by the extreme metal scene. The band’s brutal yet catchy, groove-oriented death metal surpassed what we had heard L-G Petrov and Victor Brandt deliver on their ENTOMBED revival band ENTOMBED A.D as they melded well with members of NECROPHOBIC and SKINEATER to from this new force in death metal. Now FIRESPAWN returns to transform the spark they lit into an unstoppable blaze with The Reprobate.
Whilst the previous album took it’s time to hit the sweet spots The Reprobate gets right to it with Serpent Of The Sea. Drummer Mattie Moddin refuses to wait around throwing in sweet fill after sweet fill in the intro before going into full blast beat mode as the guitars and Petrov’s vocals synchronise to deliver a melodic death metal masterclass. That’s what ultimately makes this record feel more enjoyable than the last, it leans towards melodic death metal whilst retaining brutality. If you can imagine early ENTOMBED playing DISMEMBER with a modern production you’re close to the mark. Whilst it never gets to AMON AMARTH levels (stay calm DM purists), there are some soaring leads on this album that help drive home this European melo-death feel namely on tracks like Full Of Hate and The Whitechapel Murderer.
However, if you prefer the heavier route of the last record then you are still well catered for, A Patient Wolf, and the title track bring punishing verses but still have impressive choruses. Death By Impalement even brings back the haunting chant vocals from Shadow Realm’s stand out track Lucifer Has Spoken, but this time round they assist the song a lot more by giving something to latch on to during one of the less accessible songs and they sit in the mix in a lot more comfortably.
General’s Creed is possibly the highlight of the album as it’s a shining example of what this album does best, distort the line of melody and brutality with some of the fastest and most frantic instrumentals on the album but also one of the most memorable choruses as L-G Petrov roars “This is my war, there are many like it but this one’s mine”. It’s one of his best vocal performances since the days of O.G Entombed. To have a legend of the genre at the heart of a truly exciting project again is great if we have to miss out on future ENTOMBED A.D albums in order to hear more from FIRESPAWN then that’s a damn fair trade.
Shadow Realms showcased a group of death metal veterans collaborating together to see what they could create, and the results were enjoyable, The Reprobate clears the reasonably high bar set by themselves with yards to spare. It’s an album where the experienced musicians truly click together and deliver something that surpasses large quantities of their previous work. What’s exciting is that it still feels like FIRESPAWN are only just getting started, for musicians with their tenure to sound this fresh and exciting is ludicrous, it feels like soon they could engulf the entire death metal world in flames.
The Reprobate is out now via Century Media Records.
For more information on FIRESPAWN like their official page on Facebook.